If You Could Hie to Kolob

So this month we had a great hymn, chosen by a great woman – my wife. This has always been one of my favorite hymns since singing it with a group of the best missionaries in the world in Santana, Amapá – Brasil. (I mean how could you not experience great music in a place called Santana?) Interestingly enough, there is not (or at least not at the time) a portuguese version of this hymn. So we sang it in English. Since no one ever sings all the verses, we did. My absolute favorite part of the hymn is the last few verses where it just repeats “There is no end to …” and names off a bunch of things without end. Powerful.

On with the arrangement…

How can you arrange a song about deep space without some type of travel sequence? So the intro is the “Hie” part, slight speeding up but then slowing down as you arrive at Kolob. That’s when I wanted to strip it down and just make it simple, humble, majestic and reverent. It’s kind of an awestruck moment, I would think, as if to say, “Whoa, there it is.”

The second verse “continues onward with that same speed to fly.” It’s gathering momentum for the final verse which is in my mind, the creation verse. I tried to make the guitar as big as possible and mimic a orchestral march as you witness “where God’s began to be” in all of its glory and are taking in the “there is no end to …” sections of the hymn. It continues to build until it gets to the little change in each verse in which it then slows down and cranks up the volume as loud as it will go.

The outro is then pulling back from it all and coming back out of that vision. If the intro was the “hie-ing” the outro would be the “bye-ing.”

And that’s it. Always been a favorite of mine, but it was definitely a challenge. It’s a hymn that needs to be as small and quite as possible in some parts and then big and loud in others. But that’s what makes it fun to play! But video taping it was a challenge. Sorry I didn’t play it as cleanly as I should have (and for making all those crazy faces.  Who knew I looked like that and never told me?). But I’ll do a better job when I finally record these the right way.

Continue reading to watch the lesson video, download the sheet music, or to leave a comment. Thanks for all the comments so far both on the blog and on the Facebook page. I’ve gotten a lot of great insight from everyone that has definitely helped shape where this site is going each month. Thank you again!

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About Ben Howington

I'm just an average Mormon trying to offset the filth out there on the internet, one guitar arrangement at a time. (Mormon.org Profile)

21 comments

  1. I’m such a big fan of your music! I play guitar as well, and I’m trying to learn your songs right now, because they are so amazing and spiritual. I was wondering if the time comes when you take song suggestions from followers of your music, if you could do a rendition of “Army of Helaman”? I’m getting ready to serve a mission ( I don’t have my call yet), and I would love to play that before I leave! :)

    • First off, that is awesome that you A) play guitar B) are learning the songs and C) going on a mission! I’m sure at some point soon we’ll do an audience choice for a month. But my kids are in primary, so there is a pretty good chance that sooner or later they’ll choose that one. Let’s just hope for sooner than later! You can also send me an email address on the contact page and I’ll shoot you an email when it finally is chosen, even if it’s after you’ve left. I know some missions allow you play guitar on them. Thanks again for listening, learning and preparing to serve!

  2. Hey Ben,

    Just wanted to let you know I am a missionary serving right now in the New York Rochester mission. I am able to watch your videos often and I play guitar myself. I am inspired by them! I never wanted to learn hymns on guitar before now and these have made me want to learn these songs to play for different people I come in contact with throughout my days here. Thank you so much for the awesome and inspiring videos!!

    • Thanks! I had never really played them much either before this site. I had maybe arranged two or three over the last 10 years, with Be Still My Soul being the most recent. I’m finding just as much joy in the hymns myself. It just seems natural to play them on the guitar :) And thank you for serving a mission! All the best to you!

  3. My favorite hymn of all time. I gave each of my kids $100.00 when they mastered it on the piano. They later learned to play the guitar and I watched from afar. The youngest is serving an LDS mission and left the guitar at home, so I started taking lessons. I transcribed my hymn and asked my teacher for a real arrangement. He linked me to you. Wow!! It will take me a very long time to understand and do what you did, but that is why we have eternity. I loved your interpretation and execution. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks.

  4. I’m an old dog trying to learn a new trick, playing the guitar! I’ve gotten through the first verse of “If You Could Hie to Kolob” using your video instructions and the Motab, but I’m afraid that at the rate I’m going there may be “no end” to me learning this song. Have you considered compiling your instructional videos onto a DVD for sale? I’ve purchased your CD and I would definitely buy the instructional videos to go along with it. Thanks for sharing your talent I’ve enjoyed it greatly!

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